7/20-25/13

Link to just pictures.

Jean's folks kindly offered to watch Miles for a few nights while Jean and I went on a climbing road trip.... they didn't have to ask us twice! We planned on climbing the highest peaks in Utah and Idaho with some friends....

7/20/13: A 9hr drive along I25 and I80 got us to the happening town of Mountain View Wyoming, right on the border of northern Utah, with Bob and Sharon, then along some dirt roads to the Henrys Fork campground. The place was swarming with news crews, sheriffs, and Search & Rescue. We learned that they just found a couple of 14 year old boys that were lost over night. We had some beers and Subway in camp then crashed for the night once the mosquito's got hungry.

7/21/13: A gorgeous morning and we were hiking shortly after 8am. The 8 mile hike went quickly as we swapped stories and laughs. Green forest with red peaks reminded us of the Maroon Bells wilderness. Jean and Sharon spotted a moose and baby moose along the way. Just under 4hrs and we walked right past Dollar Lake, where we were to meet Wayne. We backtracked to the lake and found his tent. An odd smell was near, that Wayne later informed us was a dead llama near camp. Since it was early I boogied up the trail towards Gunsight Pass for a couple of bonus peaks. I saw Wayne along the way and he filled me in on the routes. Soon I was huffing and puffing up steep and loose boulders towards the 13,103ft West Gunsight Peak. After a quick break and some pictures I headed down the same way, slipping and sliding, then sneaking through the cliff band. From the pass, 13,263ft Gunsight Peak looked like a steep and loose impossible scree pile... might as well check it out! Up to the red cliff, circle around, then slip and slide up steep scree. Hey... there's the top! A couple more pics, then I headed towards a gully in the direction of camp. This worked out nicely, and there was even a few footprints. Added another 3.5hrs, 7.5miles, and 3400ft to the day. Back at camp, a Ranger was visiting and we all chatted after Wayne checked his pack weight. We theorized that he killed the real Ranger and buried him under the dead llama while he had a yoga instructor in a pit in his basement. The typical camp chores, chill-axing, then an early night in the sleeping bags.

7/22/13: 4:30am alarm, hiking by 5:30am... so worth it for the awesome sunrise splashing colors all over the peaks and valleys. It didn't take long before we were at Gunsight Pass, then contoured above Painter Basin and through some cliffs. Rock hopping and sharing stories got us to Anderson Pass after a couple of hours. The last 1000ft was mostly steep and shifty boulders so we took it slow and easy trying to find the path of least resistance. The views of the surrounding area just kept getting better and after 4hrs, we were on the top of Utah, 13,528ft Kings Peak! There wasn't a cloud in the sky so we hung out on the summit for close to an hour. Heading down we quickly got off route and spent a long time getting back to Anderson Pass while trying to to dislodge terribly loose boulders. Welcome to the suck! The rest of the hike down went quickly and we were back in camp after about 7hrs, 9 miles, and 300ft. Due to the dead llama scent and having beer in the car, it was an easy decision to pack up and hike out after a rest. The miles clicked away easily and after 3hrs we were back at the trailhead enjoying a beer and taking river-baths. What an awesome day!

7/23/13: A leisurely morning packing up and eating breakfast then heading towards Idaho. We resupplied in Evanston and chugged away the miles along I80 and I15. We got a flat along the way and unfortunately it was a hole in the sidewall of the tire. Crap! We put on the spare and found a set of tires in Pocatello with a Chili's next door, so we could eat dinner while getting some new treads. Due to all-wheel drive, we had to get all four tires, and after $750 we were on the road again. Borah Peak is literally in the middle of Idaho and it seemed like the roads just kept going on and on. A few miles beyond Mackay Idaho and we were at the dusty and smoky trailhead setting up camp and packing for the next day.

7/24/13: Jean and I barely slept, and her stomach was causing frequent trips to the bathroom. 4am sucked. Jean decided to stay to get some more sleep and try to get her GI issues fixed while me, Bob, and Sharon headed up the trail in the dark. Since the route is 3.5miles and 5500ft it starts steep and doesn't relent. We passed the time with stories of our first vehicles and doing stupid stuff in our youth. The sunrise was pretty cool with the smoky sky and colorful geology on surrounding peaks. Here comes Chicken Out Ridge! We picked our way along and it was quite fun and solid scrambling. Some gullies, some solid exposed traverses, and one down climb to get into the gully. After the gully it was nothing but 1000ft of steep and loose rocks to the summit. After 4hrs, we were standing on the 12,662ft summit of Borah Peak, the top of Idaho! There were flags, golf clubs, and various other junk on the summit, we hung out and snacked for about 30mins. The way down was uneventful and Chicken Out Ridge went by quickly. Descending over 5000ft is not easy on the knees or toes, but we had no other choice. After 6hrs 45mins total we were back at the car and Jean had just returned from hiking up to the ridge also. We had a beer and chips then said our goodbyes for our long drive home and Bob/Sharon's drive to Montana. We made it all the way to Rock Springs before dark and enjoyed scrubbing off 5 days of dirt, sweat, sunscreen, and bug spray... then filled our bellies at Applebee's.

7/25/13: Another shower then the long drive home with just stops for gas and food. We got home around 1pm and we were happy to see our little man Miles again after an amazingly fun week of hiking and climbing!